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4524.0 - In Focus: Crime and Justice Statistics, September 2011  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/09/2011  First Issue
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Contents >> Youth victimisation and offending: A statistical snapshot >> Youth and their experiences of victimisation and offending

YOUTH AND THEIR EXPERIENCES OF VICTIMISATION AND OFFENDING

Youth and their experiences of victimisation: selected offences

Physical and threatened assault

Physical assault was the most common form of assault experienced by the youth population in 2009-10. In the 12 months prior to interview, 5.6% of persons aged between 15 and 17 years old and 5.8% of persons aged between 18 and 24 years old experienced at least one physical assault. These rates are more than double the estimated victimisation rates for physical assault for persons aged 25 years and over (2.3%).

Threatened assault victimisation rates were also significantly higher for the youth population compared to the adult population. Of persons aged between 15 and 17 years old, 5.0% experienced at least one threatened assault (both face-to-face and non face-to-face). Similarly, for those persons aged between 18 and 24 years, 5.2% experienced at least one threatened assault (both face-to-face and non face-to-face). While threatened assault was the most prevalent form of assault for persons aged 25 years and over, the estimated victimisation rate (3.0%) was significantly lower than that of the youth population (5.0% for 15 to 17 year olds and 5.2% for 18 to 24 year olds).

VICTIMISATION RATES FOR SELECTED PERSONAL CRIMES BY AGE(a), 2009-10

Source: ABS Crime Victimisation, Australia, 2009-10 (cat. no. 4530.0)

Over-representation of the youth population as victims of physical and threatened assault

By comparing the proportion of estimated total victims who were aged between 15 and 24 in 2009-10 (34.4% for physical assault and 26.5% for threatened assault) with the proportion of the general population aged between 15 and 24 in Australia as at December 2009 (16.2%), the higher rate of victimisation of young people is clear.

Sexual assault

In the 12 months prior to interview in 2009-10, of those persons aged between 18 and 24 years, 0.5% experienced at least one sexual assault. Of those persons aged 25 years and over, 0.2% were victims of at least one sexual assault (Endnote 9 and 13).

While data on the experience of sexual assault is not available from surveys for persons under the age of 18, administrative data from police records can aid in understanding the experiences of those aged under 18 years. Victimisation rates presented in the Recorded Crime – Victims (Endnote 12) publication show the number of victims who reported their experiences of crime to police and were recorded on police administrative systems, per 100,000 of the Estimated Resident Population (ERP). Data from this publication is not directly comparable with data from Crime Victimisation, Australia (refer to Endnote 13 for further details).

In 2010, persons aged 10-24 years of age had a relatively higher rate of sexual assault victimisation (238.4 persons per 100,000 persons) in comparison to persons aged 25 years and over (27.5 persons per 100,000 persons). This means that persons aged 10-24 years were eight times more likely to be victims of sexual assault, as recorded by police, than persons aged 25 years and over.

Young people as criminal offenders

Most common principal offence

Youth offenders demonstrate different types of offending in comparison to adult offenders according to Recorded Crime – Offenders, Australia, 2009-10. The most common principal offences for 10-24 year olds and persons aged 25 years and over are presented below:


MOST COMMON PRINCIPAL OFFENCE, By Age group (years)


10-24 years
25 years and over
Theft (21.0%)
Acts intended to cause injury (21.7%)
Public Order (20.6%)
Illicit Drugs (17.7%)
Acts intended to cause injury (16.5%)
Public Order (17.1%)
Illicit Drugs (11.7%)
Theft (13.0%)


The most common principal offence for persons aged 10 to 24 years was theft (21.0% of young offenders), while for adults (persons aged 25 years and over) the most common principal offence was acts intended to cause injury (21.7%).

Seriousness of offences by age

Based on the median age of offenders by each principal offence type, offenders were younger for the offences of unlawful entry with intent (median age 18 years), robbery (median age 19 years) and theft and property damage (median age of 21 years for both offence types). Offenders were older for the more serious offences of sexual assault (median age 32 years), homicide (median age 30 years) and fraud and offences against justice/government (median age 29 years for both offence types).

OFFENDERS, Selected principal offences by median age(a)

Source: ABS Recorded Crime – Offenders, 2009-10 (cat. no. 4519.0)

Over-representation of the youth population as offenders

By comparing the proportion of total offenders who were aged between 10 and 24 in 2009-10 (48.5%) with the proportion of the general population who were aged between 10 and 24 in Australia as at December 2009 (23.5%) (Endnote 14), the higher proportion of young people aged 10-24 in the offender population is clear. Other comparisons are shown in the following graph.

RECORDED CRIME OFFENDER POPULATION COMPARED
WITH ESTIMATED RESIDENTIAL POPULATION (ERP), 2009-10

Source: ABS Recorded Crime – Offenders, 2009-10 (cat. no. 4519.0)
Source: ABS Australian Demographic Statistics, December quarter, 2009 (cat. no. 3101.0)

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